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News Daily: PM race to reach final two, and stricken tanker damage revealed

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Tory MPs to choose final two for leadership vote

We'll finally find out which two Conservative leadership rivals will go head-to-head for the right to be the UK's next prime minister later, with only four men remaining after Rory Stewart's elimination. Boris Johnson again topped the ballot on Wednesday with 143 votes, ahead of Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid. He's almost certain to make the run-off involving a postal ballot of 160,000 or so party members.

The race to join him is too close to call - "fluid and real" - according to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg. Mr Stewart's supporters won't automatically split evenly between the group, she says, adding that private discussion of "different alliances" are also inevitable. To refresh your memory about the rivals' backgrounds, check out our pen portraits. And if you want to know how each claims he'll sort out Brexit, you can read their plans in a nutshell. On that note, Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to use his annual Mansion House speech to warn that whoever wins will need a "plan B" that avoids a no-deal exit from the EU, to avoid devouring the £26.6bn "war chest" he set aside.

Up close to stricken oil tanker with the US navy

Amid claim and counter-claim about attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the BBC's Mark Lowen travels with American forces to see at close range the damage caused to the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. "It may have been designed to damage rather than sink but, either way, it has sparked huge international tension," he says. Our correspondent is shown fragments of a magnetic limpet mine like those said to be used by the Iranian military. News broke early on Thursday that Tehran, which denies US assertions it is behind the attacks, claims to have shot down a US spy drone over Iranian airspace. A spokesman for US Central Command told the AP agency no US drone was over Iranian territory.

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Recycled clothing range met with scepticism

Shoppers on London's Oxford Street have offered the BBC their verdict on "fast fashion" retailer Boohoo's first recycled clothing range - made using reclaimed plastics. Esme, 16, reckons it's good to demonstrate they are like "normal clothes", but Camilla, 22, is less convinced. "If someone really cared about buying ethically sourced, green clothes then they wouldn't shop at Boohoo," she says. Academics, too, are sceptical. "They are unlikely to change their supply chain overnight," says marketing lecturer Patsy Perry, adding the main test will be financial viability.

How did my sleepy hometown become a violent crime hotspot?

By Mobeen Azhar

It was early 2018 when I first met Yassar's dad, Mohammed Yaqub. By that time, Yassar's death had become one of the biggest news stories ever linked to Huddersfield. The car he was travelling in was forced to stop by unmarked police cars. Soon after, an officer opened fire and Yassar was shot and killed. I wanted to know, how did a young man from my hometown end up being shot by the police on a motorway slip road?

Read the full article

What the papers say

The race to be the UK's next prime minister dominates front pages again, with two papers leading on accusations that the BBC invited what the Daily Mail calls "nakedly anti-Tory" guests to hold the Conservative leadership candidates to account. Others suggest the rivals have more to fear from each other, with the i reporting the most recent to be knocked out - Rory Stewart - has hit out at the "dark arts" employed by Boris Johnson's team, while the Daily Telegraph suggests similarly tactical voting could be used to eliminate Michael Gove.

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Lookahead

Today Candidates to become the next leader of the Conservative Party will be whittled down to the final two, with voting among the party's MPs due to start at 10:00 BST.

20:50 Chancellor Philip Hammond and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to make their annual Mansion House speeches, in London.

On this day

1976 The US military moves nearly 300 Westerners, mostly Americans and Britons, from Beirut, in Lebanon, to safety in Syria following the murder of the US ambassador.

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There are two people Americans will find tolerable in 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden (Independent)

Sex maniacs, criers, and victims: have male TV writers never met a real woman? (Telegraph)

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